Scott Worden
Director, Afghanistan and Central Asia Programs
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Scott Worden is director of Afghanistan and Central Asia Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP). He comes into this role with an extensive background in reconstruction, development, democracy and governance, policy, among others; as well as extensive regional expertise on Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Prior to joining USIP, Worden was director of the Lessons Learned Program at the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), and served as acting director of policy as well as a senior policy advisor for the Office of Afghanistan and Pakistan Affairs at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In the latter position, he was responsible for advising senior officials on strategies for sustainable development in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
At his previous time with USIP, Worden directed Rule of Law development programs for the USIP and served as a United Nations-appointed Electoral Complaints Commissioner for the 2009 Afghanistan elections, as well as advising the U.N. on elections in 2005-06. 
Worden has a decade of experience working on Afghanistan issues and working in the field.
Originally from Boston, Mr. Worden earned his bachelor’s at Colgate University and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School.
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ISSUE AREAS
Justice, Security & Rule of Law
COUNTRIES
Afghanistan
Pakistan
PUBLICATIONS BY SCOTT
Scott Worden on the Afghan Peace Process and U.S. Withdrawal
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
By: Scott Worden
Troop withdrawal is ahead of schedule, but that’s “proving to be bad news for the overall political situation … and a setback for peace talks,” says USIP’s Scott Worden. While it seems likely that fighting will ramp up, if another military stalemate occurs there could be “a ripe opportunity for talks.”
Type: Podcast
Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Peace Processes
Democracy Is the Afghan Government’s Best Defense Against the Taliban
Thursday, April 22, 2021
By: Scott Worden; Belquis Ahmadi
The Biden administration’s announcement last week that U.S. troops would be out of Afghanistan by September 11 came as a blow to the current peace talks and many Afghan citizens who appreciate the rights and freedoms that international forces have helped to defend against the Taliban. Still, President Biden made clear that the United States continues to support the Afghan government and democratic system, and, to that end, the administration has indicated it would request $300 million from Congress in additional civilian aid. But Biden explicitly de-linked U.S. troops from that equation — stating that they would not be “a bargaining chip between warring parties.”
Type: Analysis and Commentary
Peace Processes; Gender; Democracy & Governance
U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan: End to an Endless War?
Thursday, April 15, 2021
By: Scott Worden; Johnny Walsh; Belquis Ahmadi; Ambassador Richard Olson
President Joe Biden formally announced on Wednesday that the United States will withdraw troops from Afghanistan by September 11 of this year, the 20th anniversary of the al-Qaida attacks that led to the U.S. overthrow of the Taliban. The decision comes a month after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken looked to jump-start the moribund intra-Afghan peace talks in Doha, Qatar with a sweeping set of proposals. Although the withdrawal would mean an end to America’s longest war, the implications for Afghanistan’s hard-won progress are immense and many fear the possibility of a rejuvenated civil war after U.S. troops leave.
Type: Analysis and Commentary
Peace Processes
Breaking the Stalemate: Biden Can Use the U.S.-Taliban Deal to Bring Peace
Thursday, February 25, 2021
By: Scott Worden
On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the U.S.-Taliban agreement, Afghanistan remains unfortunately far away from peace. The historic agreement paved the way for a full U.S. withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the start of intra-Afghan talks on a political settlement of the conflict. As the May 1 withdrawal deadline nears, the Biden administration is undertaking a rapid Afghanistan policy review to determine its overall strategy toward the slow-moving intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha, Qatar. A key reason for the lack of movement in talks is that both sides are anxiously waiting to see what Biden decides. 
Type: Analysis and Commentary
Peace Processes
Gridlocked Afghan Peace Talks Overcome Another Hurdle
Thursday, December 10, 2020
By: Scott Worden
Afghan peace negotiations began in mid-September, bringing together the Afghan government and Taliban for the first time to negotiate an end to four decades of war. But, since then, the talks have been mired in squabbles over basic procedures. Last week the sides made a breakthrough and agreed on the rules that will govern future talks, opening the door to the more substantive issue of the agenda for talks—including how and when to talk about a reduction in violence and future political arrangements. Senior U.S. officials praised the agreement and urged the parties to move quickly to a discussion about ways to reduce record-high violence levels.
Type: Analysis and Commentary
Peace Processes
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SCOTT IN THE NEWS
Challenges after US troops withdrawal - Pakistan Observer
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Scott Worden Gives An Update On The Afghanistan Troop Withdrawal - Sirius XM
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Potential Seen for Regional Power Plays as US Departs From Afghanistan - VOA
Thursday, April 29, 2021
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